Here’s how Edward McCutcheon, course co-ordinator and RLSS UK Liaison for Warwick Uni Lifesaving Club organised and ran the massively successful Save A Baby’s Life workshop at Warwick Arts Centre this week.

It all started with an off-hand comment from Warwick Uni’s Lifesaving Club’s President, Adam, ‘I wonder if we could do a big Save a Baby event with loads of BULSCA trainers’ he said. BULSCA is the British Universities Lifesaving Clubs Association and the University Lifesaving League managers, by the way!

Just over nine months later, more than 200 people were booked on a club-organised event at the Warwick Arts Centre, with 26 instructors from Warwick Uni, BULSCA and across the Warwickshire and Worcestershire & Herefordshire RLSS UK branches – plus 220 baby manikins!

The comment from most trainers who visit our club is that we are spoilt for resources – university teaching rooms are extremely well equipped and usually free, our pool time is free and we can borrow projectors/screens/whiteboards/minibuses almost at the drop of a hat.

For this, including the gifted hire of a 250 person room in the Arts Centre, we must thank the University. Certainly, Warwick is amongst the most generous of universities to its students, but a lot of other BULSCA clubs have access (albeit not necessarily free but discounted) to rooms or resources which would otherwise be prohibitively expensive.

Our workshop was taught in a style similar to the old BabySafe or 999 roadshows – teaching from the middle and then breaking into small groups for a practical section with instructors around the room.

These instructors included new Community Instructors from a course we ran in advance of the workshop, new Survive & Save Instructors, for some, their first Save a Baby workshop, and highly experienced Trainer Assessors.141 of the registered candidates attended the event, and learnt what to do if a baby stopped breathing, choked or drowned, and left very happy and more confident of what to do if such an emergency occurred.

The total cost of running the event (wipes and resources came to less than £100) was more than offset by the donations given – almost £300!

Warwick’s term will shortly finish, and I’ll be graduating. It’s been a pleasure to be involved and to have helped organise courses and events which may, one day, save a life.

The club president tweeted that evening: “proud to be President of @UoW_Lifesaving tonight”.

Young people represented 60 per cent of the trainers at this course, and all the organising force, and showed that there’s a lot they can offer if empowered and equipped properly. BULSCA clubs can provide opportunities amongst a captive group of university staff and students, with university level resources – worth engaging with.

Finally, to my instructors and helpers, my and the club’s thanks go to: Adam, Scott, Jamie, Louise, Toby, Debbie, Teresa, Ceri, Caroline, Alan, Luke, James, Alex C, Tim M, Tim A, Emily, Jon, Marian, Randal, Piera, Mark, Chris, Alex B, Laura, Dagmar, Mike, Debbie, Lynette, Sarah.